SpaceX Launches NASA’s GRACE-FO, Iridium Satellites | NBC News
It. Is. 27. Minutes past the hour very. Soon now we hope to get a status report on the satellites, we're, having, Sammy listening, for us on the team to find out some important, information right. Around this period from, t 22, t 16, this is kind of an important, moment for the team is it not it is now this is a time where we of course we hear of confirmation, from the launch vehicle that the pro plant loading is continuing. The, liquid. Oxygen loading. Is initiated. And then also we hear confirmations. And commitments, from the launch team from the grace follow-on launch team about, the status of their system, and readiness, for launch so every, minute or so for the next couple of minutes you'll be hearing, from people. In, the control room giving. These status, reports are these goal for launches correct, so every subsystem will report to the grace. Follow-on project manager, for the satellite for, the Mission, Operations Center. And such and they will report to in, the status of availability, of the assets, that they have the personnel and the systems, are all go for lunch. And. About t 20 understand, is that usually, the time where they decide to go to internal, power when they go to internal, power what does that mean so the spacecraft are now powered, by you they're plugged into a power supply essentially. And T. 20 they're given the order or the command to go to internal power which means the spacecraft, now will, be disconnected, from the external power will be operating on their own internal battery power and then, after that that, means they're, ready for launch this is. Good. To go alright, so we are standing by we, should be getting that fairly, soon very, soon all right and, once we, get these goes, the. Space the the rocket itself and the spacecraft everything. Is automated from this point on it is it not correct, pretty much Opera automated. There are of course notifications. Throughout if there is any problem, in the launch vehicle, process, they they have a, the ability. To halt, the launch but we don't anticipate that at all everything has been nominal. On every, measurement that we've we've seen and. Have you heard any communications, yet not yet you will alright, so as we watch the rocket we are standing by. You. All. Right Sammy we do have something now correct, we just received confirmation that, the the. Spacecraft. Are green form and go for launch and, the. Mission Operations Center, is green and go for launch and that, confirmation was provided, to the, launch vehicle. We'll. Be getting a final confirmation from, the launch vehicle at this point that they are ready for launch all right okay, standing, by for more. You. All. Right Sammy eyes were standing by one, of the things about this particular launch, this, is an instantaneous. Lunch, what do we mean by that, so, in, order to place the the. Iridium, satellites in particular, in the right orbital, plane where they, are actually inserted to complete, a constellation, then. There's, a, specific, time that we must launch otherwise, we will have to spend a, very large amount of propellant. In order, to get, the satellites, into the right place, and. Right now it's it's, an instantaneous launch for this for this occasion in. In. Normal launches. For or if you do not have to insert the satellite into a constellation, you have a little more leeway you have a little open, window but in this case we have to get into the same slot so if we don't make that time then, we just scrub and turn around do it again tomorrow if there are if there's an issue and we are not able to make that time then we'll have to scrub and go for tomorrow tomorrow. Will also be another. Instantaneous. Launch window all right standing. By. You. You. As. We, wait for launch NASA, and, the German Research Center for, geosciences. Share the responsibility. For developing and, launching grace. Follow-on, for, the Mission Operations GFC. Subcontracted. The work to the German space agency which operates, the German Space Operations Center. Ji-suk and it's outside of Munich Germany. That is where much, of the grace follow-on, team is right now including, systems. Engineer, nailed, aya who, is with us via Skype email. How. You doing I'm just fine. So tell people why so, much of the team is out there in Germany. Okay. Most of it a lot of the team is here because this is the center for where all the communications, from the satellites are going to come down we, have ground stations, all over the world but this is the Mission. Operations Center. And, so all the informations are gonna come down here so we need experts around, for all the different aspects of the spacecraft, and, Mission Control here, all, right so can you describe to me who's, in the room the control, room beneath you and what, are their jobs how many people how many teams are there.
We. Got a bunch of teams but the overall people as, Sammy had said earlier we have, GFC. Which is responsible for the mission operations and Mission Operations is here, as, part of GFC is responsibility. Gsok, and DLR are responsible. For the flight operations and this is their mission control, room so a lot of this room is staffed with the G sock people but. Then Airbus is responsibly doing the spacecraft, design build and testing of the spacecraft, so all their subsystem, experts, and their management are also here, and. We've got enough people in here to staff two ships and, then on top of that we have JPL, people that are responsible for the overall management we, have JPL, for the instruments. And. Then we have our Quality Assurance people also all, right so, Neil we will be checking back with you soon and with. Other members of the juice sock team thanks. For joining us for right now. All. Right JPL's. Mike Meacham, recently, interviewed Neil, on the unique design, of the grace missions, unlike. Earth-observing, satellites. Which point, their instruments, towards our planet the, grace twin satellites, work as one instrument, that look, at each, other to, see gravitational. Changes, on the surface, you, have to admit it is some, crazy, engineering. Here. On earth we, all know about gravity, but. What you might not realize is, that depending on where you are on the planet the strength of gravity is different. Is. Stronger. Water. Also, has mass and the. Earth has a whole lot of water it's moving around it's changing phases if, you can track the change in gravity, you can track the change in mass and that means you're understanding, the movement of water, NASA is about to send the grace follow-on, mission which will continue to do just that, let's, learn about it on this episode of crazy in here. Okay. Everybody we're here with Neil he's one of the key engineers, on the grace follow-on. Mission Neil. Thank you so much for joining us and answering our questions why, do we call it grace follow-on so gray stands for Gravity, Recovery and climate experiment, we're, using gravity, to track water motion around the planet and the follow-on is because we've done this before and we're doing again with two new satellites, the original grace mission was launched in 2002. They lasted for 15 years and provided amazing. Science for the scientists both. Of these missions have, two satellites. Can you explain to us why we need two satellites instead of just one so we need two satellites because we're trying to measure very, precise, small amounts of gravity, changes in the earth the. Earth is actually lumpy, when it comes to gravity far away from Earth gravity, is just a single number but as you get close to the earth the gravity changes, because the Himalayas have a little bit more mass certain. Areas have less mass and, so as a satellite is orbiting the planet as, it comes towards a large mass like the mountains it actually will speed up and then as it leaves it will slow down and, so with two satellites, were able to measure the distance between the two how, far apart are, these satellites, and just how precise, do they have to have the knowledge of each other's position, we have the satellites at 200 kilometers apart but we're measuring down to an accuracy of a micron level which is about a tenth of a human hair that is extremely, precise.
It Sounds like a very hard, engineering problem, what's the technology that lets us do this we're, using microwave, technologies, at about 30 gigahertz here, you see one of the satellites, and 200, comma ters away is the, other satellite, and what we're doing is we're firing an RF signal to. The other side of light and the other satellites measuring, that and as you move backwards, and forwards role to the sine wave you can measure the distance changes, to the levels we need Neil. It's been well more than a decade since the original grace mission I assume we're upgrading some, of these technologies, can you describe some of those sure, like technology advances. In general we've upgraded computer, systems we have more efficient solar cells we, have better star cameras, and like everything else in the future we now have laser, either, yes. What. Do lasers actually get for us so, we're actually using the lasers to do the measurement, between the two satellite, we're using RF systems from the previous missions on top of that we have this new technology demonstrator. Where we're gonna fire it laser beams between each other to make a more accurate measurement, between the two satellites you, know this is without a doubt one of the coolest missions we've seen thank, you so much for answering our questions when, can we hope to see this launch so, we're hoping to catch a ride with SpaceX, rocket later this year and we should be collecting science data shortly after that all right we'll certainly check that out and everyone out there check, back soon for some more crazy, engineering. And. We. Are, looking, at a gorgeous. View of the, rocket right now Sammy what is going on here well, you see the rocket. Readied. For launch and. Right. Now this the. What. Appears like smoke is. Actually. A liquid oxygen vapor. Part. Of the fueling process that, go, through for the Falcon 9 and the. There. Is that what's called the strong back, which. Is the, white. Structure. Right next to the rocket that actually helps, hold the rocket in place right. Till, the point of launch and it will be, pulled back. Right. As we go through the countdown. Well. Currently we're, about, just, shy of 7, minutes from launch but, as we get closer and closer to these final minutes before, launch we'd like to take a moment for this message from, NASA's, new administrator, Jim. Burnstein. While. I'm sorry I can't be at Vandenberg, today it's, my pleasure to welcome you all to, another of, NASA's, amazing. Earth science, launches, the, grace follow-on, mission to observe our planet's, ever-changing. Water, cycle, ice sheets and crust, I want. To thank the NASA and commercial, teams that, have gotten us to this point and give, a special shout-out to the many scientists, engineers and technicians who, have worked years, to make this mission possible, your. Dedication, is remarkable. And it, truly is the kind of spirit, that is carrying our space, program to new heights all the, time our. Philosophy on Mars has been to follow. The water and that, has, relevance. Right, here on earth as well grace, follow-on, data will provide unique, insights, into Earth's changing climate, and it, will have far-reaching benefits, to, society, such, as improving water resource, management, water. Is critical, to every aspect, of life on Earth for health for agriculture. And for maintaining. Our very way of life this. Mission, showcases. A strong partnership, between, NASA and the German, research sent for geosciences. While. JPL, manages, the mission for, NASA's science Mission Directorate in, Washington, I, look. Forward to seeing many more earth science, missions during my tenure as NASA Administrator. And working. Closely with, the, team as we, study my favorite planet Earth. All. Right you, are looking, at, a shot, of the pad we, are just, less than five minutes away from launch and we, are standing by standing, quiet to, see how things go, together but, as far as we know things are a go just received confirmation that, fuel loading is now complete so that's, an excellent sign for preparation, for launch all, right and conditions.
Look Fabulous, great. Weather report. Strong. Back will be start, to pull be pulled back now. Strong. Back is what I described, earlier as, what helps hold the rocket up preparation. For launch. You. You. Of, the bleed replication. You. And, stage one locks close up. You. You. Schomberg, Laura's close-up. Rock RC countdown one rock. Clarify, range of screen and go for launch, range, is green, Stage. Two locks locals up. Vehicle. Gasps closeout started. Closes, a. FPS. Is ready for launch. F9. Isn't startup. LD. Go for launch. T-minus, 30. 20. Light. Thanks configured for flight, 15. Okay. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six five. Four. Three. Two. Mission. Of tracking. The movement, of water across our. Planet. They'd, want props nominal. GC. Copies will go GC, copies. All right we, have a liftoff, Frankie. Power. And telemetry nominal. It's. Going up we're gonna have. First. Step, is max, queue, up. In about 10 seconds that's the point of maximum, stress. As. It's going them so you're right here. So. Just went through max Q. Everything. Is looking good. The. Next stage is the main engine cutoff. Yes managing, cough is in about 50 seconds. Main. Engine cutoff is the higher the first, stage of the rocket will. Stop. Ignition, of course and and, be. Deployed. See. An image now from. Rocket. Image actually. The. Main engine cutoff will be in 15 seconds. You, go we. Have a generation. Confirmed, anesthesia, port separation, has been confirmed so, the, first, stage was. Deployed. Can. See an image from the second stage. Age. One aft SS saved. So. It's everything, is nominal operating. Separation. Successfully, and. You can see the grace fallen and the Iridium spacecraft, and uh picture, there. It. Is following a normal trajectory so. The. Good thing is going nominal. It's. An image of the second. Stage. So. The second engine will will. Burn for approximately, eight minutes. That. Will get, the. The. Second stage and the both, the medium and grace follow-on stack. Up to the point where grace, follow-on will be separated, from from, that stack and. Then. The launch, vehicle, the second stage will, continue, on and deploy. The grid the Iridium satellites. After. Another burn actually. All. Right so, we have eight minutes until, the. Second. Engine cut off so. We, we're. Gonna take some time to, introduce, folks, to some, of the members of the team. Well. We wait for the end of the engine burn we thought we would be able, to introduce, you to some. Of the project, managers, Phil. Morton of JPL, and German. Research, manager. Project manager, frank fleckner, they're, both in the SpaceX, control, room at Vandenberg, right now they're, monitoring, this lunch but we did talk to them earlier about their roles and the stories they tell us about the, relationship, between the two teams they. Tell us is a partnership, that goes way, back. The. Data is available and needs to continue to be available and how do you use it in a way that helps, or benefits, where, you live specifically. Because you can really track right to where you live what the future might be like there. Are tools now to. Monitor, and. Estimate. What the future, might be like given. The trends that we see I. Have. The responsibility for the mission, with. NASA that's. Sort of the way a project, manager role is, defined so. My responsibility. Is that the mission, comes together and operate, successfully. I have. A counterpart, dr.. Frank fleckner who. Said, gfz. In, Germany, I was. Already the co-pi of the grace mission and I. Became the gyoji, of the project, manager, for our German, contributions. To the mission he's. A pleasure to work with is very knowledgeable on the science, data from grace we, talk weekly, if not more it's a pleasure to work with somebody that you, can have a straight conversation, with I know Phil already forms, a great project for, 9899. Say six years ago when we started to implement grace follow-on, I was, very happy to see failure, again to be their GP a place, follow-on, project manager. Because I know him so long and it's easy to talk with him and and it's.
We've. Taken the best of their, expertise. Combined. It with the best of ours you, put these groups of people together you wanna make sure that we're all heading down the same path heading, towards the same goals, everybody's working so closely together we. Are seamless. Between the teams it really has worked out well we. Are one grace family, we know each other since 1986. 20, years and, so. We all get older, during. The grace lifetime. And it's a great opportunity, into, one into a grace follow-on, mission with, many, of these old friends. So. As we're standing by for the, end of the second engine burn the. Other things that we're focusing. On is is what. Happens, after, the second engine burn is done what happens after that, so. The first thing that happens is the, the grace, follow-ons, satellites. Are separated. They're they're released, from from, the multi satellite dispenser. As. You see here this animation shows the the, grace follow-on to satellites, being separated, the first thing we want to do is make communication, and make sure that we have contact, with the spacecraft so it will release this s-band antenna. That. Allows us to have, communication. But the, spacecraft, at this stage are a little wobbly I would say so. They. Would have to adjust the, the internal. Propulsion. System we'll make adjustments because. We want the spacecraft, to come in in a. What. We call a safe mode which, points the solar arrays, up to, the Sun and the antenna towards Earth and. That will take, a few minutes and then the first pass is gonna be over, McMurdo. Station. In, Antarctica. That is the first opportunity, that we have communication, with the satellite that is the first opportunity we. Anticipate, that we would have contact, with both spacecraft at that point but if that doesn't happen because, of. Any. Delay, in the stability, of the spacecraft, then we have another opportunity in another 45, minutes what. Kind of communication, are we talking about is it just a ping, saying. I'm here on the line we will actually get a. Health. Report. From the spacecraft that tells us the. Power condition, the computer. Status the communication. Condition, pretty, much everything, that we need to know about the health of the, spacecraft at that point so. How far off are we from main engine, cutoff main. Engine cutoff, occurs. In. About. Looks, like in about. Ten. To eight nine minutes. Okay. So we. Are standing by. Cook, l OS expected. Tiko. Now. A parking orbit insertion. Did. We lose the feed from our. So. We are looking for second, engine cutoff and a signal, for second engine cutoff and that's a critical period because, that, is when, the. Satellites, will be deployed correct. The separation. Will occur right after, main, engine cutoff. Right. After the main engine cutoff we. Should we will be getting confirmation. Separation. From. The launch vehicle actually. Correct. They had successful, separation. And. Then after that. In. About ten seconds and then. After that we will wait. For establishing, communications, over Matt Monro will. We be able to actually see, the satellites, depart you, actually, we're, hoping that we'll be able to get a glimpse of the glace grace follow-on, certainly. Let's deploy confirmed, the. Deployment, of the grace follow-on spacecraft, was deployed that's, confirmed, deployed, successfully. Excitement. In the rooms here yes we could hear them yes. There. They are. That. Is the, e Mach at JPL, yeah. We. Have folks, here. In the MVC here, at Vandenberg Air, Force Base. So. Far so good, excellent, excellent performance. Now. The, second. Stage of the launch vehicle continues. On to deploy the iridium satellites. To. Do it does and we wish them the best of luck for that all right the point of the five Iridium satellites. So. Now we have to wait for the, satellite, the grace follow-on, spacecraft. To stabilize. And. I'm. Getting a message okay, you're. Getting some communication. It. Was another confirmation for the successful deployment. So. We have confirmation, that both, grace, satellites, have indeed, then correct. Both set like both grace on grace follow-on satellites, or spacecraft were, deployed successfully and. Now. The spacecraft, will be stabilizing.
In. Their orbit they'll, be getting away from from, each other that's natural. Movement. That we intended, for the spacecraft to do, and. Once. The, communication. Is established after. Over McMurdo, we, will know exactly what altitude, they're, in and what adjustments additional. Just missed may may need to take, place, however, the spacecraft, in. The mode that they come on once. They're released. They're. In a safe mode so the solar. Arrays face the face. The Sun and the, antenna, faces the. Antenna. Faces earth. All. Right. So. The. So, things are looking good. Dingle oh that's all okay. Throughout. This period we will have check, out of the of, the spacecraft. So. We'll, go through, internal. Checks on the spacecraft and then once who is communication. Is established we'll go through extensive checkout, for the spacecraft of conditioning, and preparation. For start. Of the instrumentation. So, it's going to be another, 20, minutes or so before, we expect. To have that acquisition. Of signal 1:8, the, spacecraft, goes over. After. Separation we have about 20, min 22 minutes actually to. To get signal and that period, lasts, about 6 minutes over McMurdo, and we, have to make contact. With both spacecraft, and, there, is a period of time where we have to, adjust. The antenna the ground antenna to track the second spacecraft, also all right next. Key moment, yes can't wait all right thanks Sammy we've. Been introducing. You to members of the team and here is another one hui Yang when she's, an MIT, grad, an arts lover and a. JPL, science, applications. Engineer, she's, part of the JPL, team currently supporting. The mission at the German Space Operations Center. Near Munich we, spoke to her in March about the work she's currently doing I. Work. On. Spacecraft. That. Measure how. Much water there, is, anywhere. On the earth that's. What it does in one sentence, because. Water doesn't just disappear. If, it's not on this part of the world it probably moves somewhere else, so, we're, tracking to. See where, all the water is on the planet, this. Mission is so simple. It doesn't even matter whether there's satellites, or rocks all, you do is just toss them so that they're in orbit, around the plan, and, if you can measure, accurately the, distance, between them, I'm. Still amazed that we, can do an extremely, simple measurement, like that and have, it tell us so much. You. Really have to. Sort. Of entirety, your own morals, and and, your own reasons, for what. You do because it's pretty intensively. Impactful. Work in extremely, different ways it's. Not just about doing. The math and doing the programming, look, at the data we're taking right we're, assessing, water. Levels, when, you look at water levels you can figure out where there are severe, droughts for, us it's just a little blip on a map of the earth but, for someone who's living there or trying to ill, farm or just live, in that area, it's the. Blip that affects. Their entire, life. Joining. Us now is deputy project scientist. Felix, Lander of JPL you know listening, to who he talked, about what. She does and she she expresses, herself that, you know what she does is not just looking at ones and zeros as you. Know a person, that's an engineer, on a spacecraft she, sees herself as doing something that's really helping. Us understand, our world do you feel that way - absolutely. Just, like the, original grace mission did grace follow-on, we'll continue to probe, the earth in a very unique way you, know we're tracking very, small, distance, changes between the two satellites and, that in turn allows us to measure, surface, mass changes in particular those related, to water a very vital resource, on the, ground give, me an idea what, were, some of the things that, we discovered, and. Realize. Before. You, know we didn't, have grace and now that we do have grace what do we know now that we didn't know then yeah, over the 15 years we had grace we made a lot of their unique new, measurements, and got. To reveal. Some of the largest mass changes we already saw a few earlier, Greenland. Some. Of the biggest mass changes we measured are related. To water. Over. Land in particular of a, big aquifer systems so for example here in California, and I think we have a small animation that we can roll, right now. How, the, change in water evolved. Over time and we can see these increased. Water, changes, those, are relatively wet years then we slide into multiple years of relatively dry. Climate. Interrupted. By wet. Year where we see an increase but then we also have this prolonged drought over a few years where we slid into the steep, negative. Water storage anomaly and with the grace satellites we can really accurately, track, that water and, inform.
Decision Makers how much ground water is being pumped for, agriculture, so. The whole point of having, grace, follow-on. Come on the heels of grace is to keep that information flow, coming so. When. You think about it now what, next, I mean we're - from now we've, just launched. When, do we get that science, yeah so we're really trying hard, to spin, up our satellites, to check out our instruments, so over the next few. Days the satellites will drift into their final science, configuration, they, need to be 220, kilometers apart so this will happen over the next few days then, our engineers. Through. The German Space Operations Center, will, one-by-one, power up our instruments, and check. Them out and make sure everything, performs, as intended we'll do some calibrations, and in, about six to seven months from now we're ready to release our first graceful, all data set six, to seven months that's right oh that's. Fantastic thanks, Felix, my pleasure all right well. You may not realize, this but you can see Grace. And eventually, grace follow-on, information. On your own computer, or mobile phone using. A program developed, by NASA's, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It's called eyes on, earth and with it you can trace, the movement. Of water around the globe using gravity, maps from, the gray satellites, all, you need is the, NASA eyes program. Which requires, just, a one-time, download, take. A look. All. Right we have a successful, launch and a, successful, deployment, of our satellites, we are standing by now for, the first communication, with, the Greece follow, on satellites, hopefully, about 10, minutes from now and that's, when the satellites, fly over the first ground station, at McMurdo, in the Antarctica. The, station, is part of NASA's near-earth, network. Of satellite tracking stations, as sort, of the Earth observing satellite. Equivalent, of NASA's, Deep Space Network, when, that signal, comes down it'll go to Mission, Operations at, the, German Space Operations Center. Outside, of Munich that's JSOC, and that is where DLR, Sebastian, Lo is standing. By hi Sebastian. Hello. To California. So. We are standing, by for this, much. Very. Important, acquisition of signal and that's. Gonna come in to JSOC, where you are correct. That's. Correct, how, does it all work how will you be listening for, this signal. So. We will have our first pass in McMurdo roughly, in, ten. Minutes, this would be our first acquisition station. There. Is the ground station located we will have two antennae pointed, to the direction where the graze photons will rise, over the horizon, and, as soon as they are there they're hopefully transmitting, a signal and. We will then record the signal forwarded, through the ground station to. DLR chuseok, and then we will see it on our screens, now. There are two satellites, do, you anticipate, that you will be able to get both satellites. And acquisition, of signal from both. That's. The plan so the first one will be chief one we. Will use the first few minutes of the pass to get some telemetry from the first. One and then after a few minutes we will switch over to the second one chief - and. Hopefully after the end of the pass we saw both of them, alright, if, we don't hear, from both of them is that going to be any source, of concern.
No. Usually. Not because at the moment we do not have, real good injection, information, from SpaceX, we, will only receive that 60 minutes after separation, so. It just might be that offset, of the antenna is a little bit too much at the moment and. Then afterwards, we have another station to Pittsburgh it's on the North Pole right, after that there is another one over Alaska and. By that time we should already have a good overt information, from SpaceX, and then we should be able to find both of them, we. Are very, excited and I'm sure you are too, all eyes, are on G sock now thanks, for joining us Sebastian. We. Spoke to another, G sock flight director, Kai Muller a few months, ago while the team was undergoing. One, of their many operation. Readiness. Readiness. Test, that's something, that they do quite, a bit to prepare, for a day like today. Well. I've been working for the grace mission since. Early. 2013 and it made perfect sense sister to keep on working both ways follow-on we've. Now done the last simulation, before the launch and the past couple of days and we. Are ready to go you, can imagine we have quite, a large number of people involved in such a mission there's DLR performing, operations, for, G of set the German key of Awesome's sentiment, then of course we have JPL were their project managers phone ask partners, from the University, of Texas who are the main scientists. Behind the project and of course we have the partners from Airbus who actually built the spacecraft all, of them have, specific, tasks that I want to see accomplished, and to. Coordinate, this you need someone at the point where everything comes together I take. All the inputs which, are then coordinate with the command or board us to load and when, to send out to the spacecraft, everyone. Sits at exactly the place they're supposed to be performs. Exactly the same task in exactly. The same way we, do it for, the we launch we make. In a separate room to discuss what we've done did, everything happen, we expect it to happen did, we see any anomalies and if, so we will discuss those and how to proceed. And that, repeats over and. Over again until we're through with our plan activities I, think. It's going to be quite nerve-wracking, but. I think once we up once again orbits we're. Going, to see the separation okay I think, then things. Are gonna come down in particular, once the lemon tree comes down. Alright, the first acquisition of, signal is, expected. At about, 1:20. Pacific, time so 20 minutes past, the hour we. Expect mission. Operations. At, ji-suk, will acquire, that signal, and NASA, will also be looking out for this signal folks. Here in the mission directors Center here, at Vandenberg are also keeping. An eye out and. We are all listenings, Sammy, explained to me what, folks are doing right now this this, acquisition, of signal how, will folks here, in the MDC, know so. We actually have a. Simulation. That we have run and, tracked. With the spacecraft so, when. We get signal it it's immediately, fed into the simulation, and we will get notification. Here that the health of the spacecraft. And, so the. As. Soon as the separation occurs we. Will get that signal but, we it. Shortly we'll be looking at some. Of the simulation, here. To kind of describe. How. That occurs, and over what period but. At this point the spacecraft, as I mentioned before is, going through internal. Checks, and and stabilization. After. The deployment, of the, antenna the communication. System is, up within four, minutes of. Course the first thing that comes up is the computer system, on board and, all the subsystems, start start, powering up as a result. From. That, so, everything. So far as far as we know is nominal, we'll get the first signal from the spacecraft over, McMurdo. And in Antarctica. Alright well we'll be standing by. Sammy. Well while we are waiting for the. Acquisition of, signal I have a couple of social media questions, that have come in. Maybe. You can help us out here while we have time for you to answer some of them from. YouTube, from space TV a question, comes in how does the shape of grace help it do its job the, shape so the shape of the spacecraft, actually was selected. To, be. Exactly the same as, the original Grace and the. Original grace shape was selected, to minimize. The. Drag, for. The spacecraft, in orbit so. Then. That will result of course in. Efficiency. And fuel consumption, so it'll and, the spacecraft lasted. For 15 years given. That it was designed only to last for three but.
We Were very efficient, in the fuel consumption. And also of course the shape of the spacecraft. Made, a big difference for that okay, here's, a question from Jim, on Twitter, will. The grace satellite, passes, be visible. From Earth with, the naked eye the, spacecraft, will be in their orbit will be at 490, kilometers that's fairly high, up for a naked. Eye, in. If one is extremely, lucky and they have a. Very. High, power binoculars. Or a. Good, telescope they. May be able to see that however they will be moving very fast and it'll be very difficult, to track them okay. Uh, here. Is another, one from, YouTube sparker. Can. This method, measure, the absolute, amount. Of water at the surface or, it. Can only measure the change, of water distribution, over time yeah, this method actually is is a is. A change. Of water in over time so it's not an absolute measurement. In. It's a relative, measurement we do this measurement every month and we compare, the results, and that's how we get an, assessment. Or some, knowledge of movement. Of mass whether its water or or land. Mass for example. So. But it's not an absolute measurement for, this, method. Meantime, Sammy we have the display, that the team is watching right now can, you to explain, this to the viewers sure so this is an animation of course and as I mentioned the, data is plugged in so as soon as we get confirmation or, communication. Of the spacecraft, we will get immediate. Confirmation that we have contact. So. You can see here this spacecraft both. Spacecraft are and now in a southern lead rejection, so. They go on south towards, the. Antarctica. And. We. Would we. Would they, would pass the McMurdo. Station and, that's when we get contact. With the spacecraft. Be. Seeing we should be hearing confirmation. Very very quickly okay. You. You. You. We. Have. Here's, clapping. And applause in the room next to us and, the. Skype signal, IC from, G sock IC, applause, there, so I understand. We let's have an acquisition, soon oh we just got confirmation that. Actually, I'm receiving, it right now. That. We have signal. From.
FM To. Spacecraft. Too. So. They're, they're going, through the cycle for. Confirmation, the data just came through in, the simulation, I was just telling you about huh. So. They're go through and make sure that they have the right confirmation. Still. Working through that. Meantime. They have to reconfigure. Hopefully. To get the second satellite is well right right. So. As soon as as soon as that signal. Is completed, on one spacecraft they, turned the, antenna to point, to the other spacecraft and, get, confirmation from that. So. So. The received telemetry from GF one confirmation, from jisuk now. That's. An excellent. So. Let's go over there let's, get the reaction, over, at G sock right now I understand. Neil daya, is standing, by right now via Skype so, we got, a signal, hey. Yes. We did we got some signals, from the what, we call great fall one which is satellite one and if you can see behind me you'll see on the center screen your. Left-hand side it's got a green top and you'll see a whole bunch of what we call telemetry information, telling us battery. State of charge what, the satellite is currently doing and right now it's in what we call real-time only mode where it's sending all the data all, the time and we're just listening at it but we are also trying to send commands as, we go so on the screen on the left and the right you'll. See a stack that's, moving and that's the commands that we're sending up and also telemetry, coming down from the satellite are, we talking about both, satellites, at this point or just, the, first satellite, just. The first one if you look you can see the green header is Grace one and a great small one and that's the one that's running and, the left and right screens are actually command stacks for those we, have not gotten satellite, to but I don't know if we've transitioned, the. Plan was supposed to be for us to acquire and then me to come back up but because of the delays and everything we're doing this real-time right now alright, and, it would not be a surprise if you don't get it right away you have another chance at it in 45, minutes right. Yes. I don't know where we're in the time line because we've got a set 4 minute period where we're gonna listen to grace one and only. After that why are we gonna switch now they both should have been in the same orbit plane and they should be following each other so. The only thing the station has to do is to reconfigure, for, the different frequencies, of satellite, 2 so. How are folks feeling there I think yeah, we get it. So. I go ahead you. Once I've said you know your job is to make. Sure that, you keep your satellites, safe and so. It, seems like that's exactly what you're doing right now. Yes. Right, now this particular, pass is a listen-only, so we can get understanding. Of this is the ability in the health of the satellites, and if we need to do something right away we, can do it on the next pass if everything looks good then, what we'll do is we already have a pre-scripted, procedure, exactly what we're gonna do and when we're gonna do it coordinated, with the passes and we'll just run along those all. Right well, the, launch was here but all eyes, are on gee sock right now because pretty much all, operations. Are going to, be down, your way now right. Yep. Everything is going to run out of this location from here on out, well. Thanks Neil we'll be standing by. Meantime. That wraps things up here from Vandenberg, Air Force Base we, did get the very first signal, so, we know that we have acquisition, of signal from the satellites, we may or may not get the second one on this pass but, worry. Not we, have an opportunity, to get it on the. Next pass over. The North Pole but, before, we go we want to give our thanks to our JPL. Crew that's at G sock right now Jim round Christopher, Harrison Kristin. Wild plus the Kennedy Space Center space. Is at our TV crew who, have helped us put this on for you without them we wouldn't even be on the air and of, course special. Thanks, to Sammy K Ali who, helped us understand, all the workings of this and this, incredible, mission if you want to learn more about this mission here is the website for you it's w, w, NS. A govt. Slash, grace, fo, that's. Again w, w NS. A gov, grace. Slash. Grace. Fo, slash, grace fo. Alright. That's it for us.